If you don’t like change, you might walk around with the same credit card in your wallet for decades. There’s nothing wrong with a little loyalty, but since credit cards come in different shapes and sizes, it’s important to find one that matches your needs and spending style.
A credit card isn’t just about the ability to buy now and pay later. Many cards offer perks to help you save money. But you can’t take advantage of these benefits if you don’t have the right card.
Here’s a look at four reasons to start looking for a new credit card.
1. You’re Missing Out on Rewards
A no-frills credit card is a simple card with little (if any) perks. It’s the perfect choice for people who never use their credit card. But if you’re a different type of user, and you pull out your credit card for just about every purchase (and you pay off balances in full every month), it only makes sense to get something in return.
If your credit card doesn’t offer rewards, it’s time to find one that does. You can apply for a cash back credit card and earn cash rewards for each purchase–typically 1% or 2% cash back. Or you can get a credit card that offers reward points for every purchase. The more you use the card, the more rewards you accumulate. You can redeem rewards for statement credit, a check, merchandise, travel, gift cards, etc.
2. You Carry a Balance from Month-to-Month
People who pay off their credit card balances every month pay little or no interest, so they may give little thought to their card’s interest rate. However, if you carry a balance from month-to-month, you need a low-rate credit card to minimize your interest charges. And unfortunately, the credit card you got in your younger days may not offer the most desirable rate.
There are credit cards with interest rates as high as 18% or 19%. If you have good credit, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find a card with a rate below 10%. Check the interest rate on your credit cards to see what you’re paying. If you think you can do better, call up your card company and ask for a lower rate. The rep might lower your rate on-the-spot. If not, start shopping for a new card and transfer your existing balances. Some credit cards offer 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first six to 18 months.4 Reasons to say YES to a new credit card!Click To Tweet
3. You Want to Improve Your Credit Score
It might come as a surprise, but applying for a new credit card might give your credit score a boost. This is because getting another credit card can improve your credit utilization ratio, which is the percentage of your total outstanding credit card balances in comparison to your total credit limits. You might think your credit is in pretty good shape if you pay your bill on time every month, but a higher credit utilization can drag down your score.
Ideally, your credit utilization ratio should not exceed 30%. If you’re using a greater percentage of your credit limit, getting a new card can help your score in the long run.
To illustrate, let’s say you have a credit card with a $2,000 credit limit and a $1,000 balance. In this case, your credit utilization ratio is 50%. This is considered high and your credit score will pay the price.
There are two ways to approach this. You can pay down the card to improve your ratio and score–but this takes time. To give your score a quicker boost, another option is signing up for a new credit card.
Getting approved for a new credit card with a $2,000 credit limit means your total credit card limit jumps to $4,000. Since you only have a $1,000 balance between the two cards, your credit utilization ratio drops to 25%. Understand, however, this approach only works if you have self-control and don’t go on a spending binge.
4. You’re Fed Up With High Fees
Some credit card companies know how to nickel and dime their customers, and if you’ve never compared your options, you might have a credit card that charges a bunch of fees. These include annual fees, foreign transaction fees and perhaps a fee for making a telephone payment. The cost of carrying a particular credit card can add up quickly, so shop around and see what other cards offer. You might get better perks, but pay less.
A credit card can help you build a credit history and provide emergency funds, however, don’t think every credit card is built the same. Sure, your current credit card has been a faithful companion over the past several years, but you can probably do better.
Have you recently ditched your credit card? Why did you ditch your credit card for a new one?
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